Local School Districts Focus on Re-Branding Efforts to Compete with Charters

Image via the Coatesville Area School District.

Coatesville and Upper Darby are part of a growing number of school districts in the Philadelphia area that are focusing on re-branding to compete with heavily advertised charter schools and private and parochial schools, writes Kathy Boccella for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

To do this, they are investing tax dollars into public-relations firms to build their brands.

The Upper Darby School District authorized $70,000 in December to hire Magnum Marketing. It is creating a campaign to highlight the positive aspects of the district’s diversity and drive community support for a new middle school and to refurbish existing schools.

According to Daniel McGarry, the district’s superintendent, the re-branding “is about changing the image of how people perceive Upper Darby and make these areas points of pride.”

The Coatesville Are School District was spurred into action in 2017 after losing around 800 students to competing charter schools. The campaign included hiring a new communications firm and distributing glossy mailers.

However, according to Rob Fisher, who became school board president after the re-branding started, these efforts have yet to prove successful.

“It’s a shame,” he said, “but we’ll keep working at it.”

Read more about the re-branding efforts in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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